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Languages - Ipadio offers a linguistic lift

Students learning English as a foreign language at Edinburgh's Stevenson College identified verbal communication as the skill they most wanted to develop.

Debates, presentations and pronunciation drills were all used to improve their spoken fluency and accuracy, but ESOL lecturer Justin Sales said it was hard to give regular, detailed feedback in a timely manner.

So to improve their skills, Mr Sales, working with Colin Buchanan, a manager at Scotland's Colleges, introduced his students to ipadio, "the home of live broadcasting".

Ipadio allows users to upload audio to the internet free of charge, using any phone, anywhere, to their own secure, personalised channels. Lecturers and classmates are then alerted via RSS, Twitter or email, and can listen and respond on their mobile phones.

Classmates can then provide feedback on their friends' spoken language files, creating a virtuous cycle of broadcasting, feedback and improvement. Lecturers can also upload pre-recorded learning materials prior to classes.

Mr Sales said: "Using ipadio with my students has increased both the quantity and quality of feedback I'm able to offer - plus they really enjoy learning in this way. It is very effective in helping students learn a new language, as they can listen back to files and develop their speaking and listening skills outside the classroom."

Mr Sales and Mr Buchanan scooped the Mobile e-Assessment Award at this year's e-Assessment awards in Dundee for their work introducing ipadio to the classroom.

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